Thursday Quinn came home from school somewhat frantic. I realized later they must have been talking about mothers day at school, but he went to his room and told me I couldn't come in. As I was fixing supper, he came in intermittently to ask for scissors, glue, and paper. About the time I was starting to wonder if I should make sure he hadn't cut up his books and glued them to the wall or something equally random and likely, he came into the kitchen with his mothers day gifts: a card made of cut up construction paper to which he had attached an unused sheet of Toy Story stickers, a sheet of Batman stickers wrapped in notebook paper, and the last bit of a spool of blue thread I gave him over a year ago to play with.
My heart melted.
After explaining to me that these were my mothers day gifts and that he loved me because I was the best mommy in the world, he felt the need to explain to me exactly what each gift was, specifically pointing out the unused stickers about which he said, "I left them on the paper so you could use them for art time, like cards and things." When he got to the Batman stickers, he paused in the middle of lovingly caressing the stickers, to say, "well, maybe we can share these, like you can have one side and I can have the other...." Talk about having to resist the urge to laugh out loud. After settling who could have each sticker, we moved on to the thread, which he handed to me gently saying, "umm.... This is for you, but I may need to borrow it again later."
Wait for it...
And I realized this is exactly how I approach God. Oh come on, you knew I was going there. But isn't it true? Everything I have comes from God, and when I come to him with my offering, I'm not bringing him anything particularly useful or wonderful. But the state of my heart is the true gift that delights the Lord. In Amos 5 (vs. 7, 10-11), the Lord describes the people of Israel:
You who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground
You hate the one who reproves in court
and despise him who tells the truth.
You trample on the poor
and force him to give you grain.
About these people the Lord says later in Amos 5 (vs. 21 - 23)
I hate, I despise your religious feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.
Even though you bring me burnt
offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
That reminds me of Psalm 51: 16-17
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
It wasn't the stunning array of gifts from Quinn that made me love the gifts, but his love that overflowed into a desire to please me. And the crushing grip of sin and grief that has rendered me near catatonic for days began, ever so slightly, to loosen its hold on me because I was reminded that God rejoices over me, not because of what I accomplish, but because I am his child. No matter what I have offer, even a scrap of thread on a spool, makes him smile.